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Atlam ("Forest of Ferns"), also known as Atlam and Tōžetăna, is the Khulls name for a country located at the southern extreme of the continent of Rilola, home of all humans on planet Teppala. It is similar in size and shape to Subumpam but its climate is much warmer. Atlam stretches from 10°N to 14°N and from 9°E to 13°E. The climate of the entire nation is tropical savanna, with little difference from place to place because the topography is flat. There is a marked dry season during the Northern Hemisphere winter, but the air remains humid because of the nearby shallow sea, and water is plentiful throughout the year. The summer monsoon hits land early in the season and remains throughout the summer.

Atlam was founded in 2131 as Tūġyaităna.[1] Atlam was an alliance of independent, self-sufficient nations inhabited by aboriginals of the Kxesh tribes, who had lived in the rainforest for tens of thousands of years. In 2131 this alliance signed a treaty with the much larger Star Empire which transformed their multinational alliance into a single large nation and introduced the official language of the Stars, the Gold language.

In many ways, Atlam resembled the distant empire of Subumpam, which had been founded just a few generations earlier on the opposite side of the Gold Sea, about 2000 miles to the north and east of Atlam. Both empires were of similar size and shape, and had been founded along the south coast of their continent.[2] Both had humid climates ideal for humid civilization, with Subumpam having a temperate climate rather than Atlam's tropical one.

Like Atlam, Subumpam had originated as an alliance of previously independent states who had banded together into an alliance after signing mutual peace treaties with each other and disbanding their armed forces. The Subumpamese tribes were blonde, blue-eyed people who resembled their eastern neighbors in Paba but were not closely related. And both empires had signed treaties around the year 2100 pledging their allegiance to the much larger and stronger Star Empire, and later the Gold Empire.


Belongs to the Pejo family. See Tropical Rim.

Later linguistic evolution

See Macro-Pabap languages#atla2.

Geography and climate

Atlam has a tropical monsoon climate, typical for its latitude and points northward. As the southernmost point of the entire continent of Rilola, Atlam has the warmest and wettest climate of all. The monsoon rain is persistent and reliably covers about seven to eight months of each year. During the remainder of the year, the climate is hot and humid but sunny skies predominate and rainfall is scarce.

Historically, Atlam has been a refuge for tropical species of both plants and animals during the planet's cold periods, and therefore has the world's greatest diversity of tropical fruits. Yet the dry season in winter has kept the region free of many of the pests that are found on the tropical islands of Laba far to the east.

Atlam's land area was only about one sixth the size of Kxesh, but Kxesh consisted largely of upland areas and deserts, and the amount of thickly forested land in Atlam was comparable to that in all of Kxesh.



Early history

The earliest inhabitants of the area now called Atlam were the dark-skinned Kxesh peoples. Kxesh was not a nation or an ethnicity; the tropical climate of Atlam had led humans to form many individual compact, self-sufficient nations within the rainforest with relatively little need for trade between each settlement. Their identification as Kxesh people came only when outside powers began to encroach on their territory and the various tribes agreed to form a military alliance for their common interest. However, subdivisions within the Kxesh people soon re-emerged, and Atlam declared itself an independent nation; they still claimed allegiance to the Kxesh military alliance but became formally autonomous. Atlam did not collect taxes from its people because the people were almost entirely hunter-gatherers with no cash economy, and each family finished each day with no possessions other than their homes and their clothes. Thus Atlam was the poorest nation in the world, despite its people generally living healthier lives than the various peoples in the drier climates to their north.

Contact with the Mumba people

Around 722 AD, a fleet of ships piloted by Mumba sailors reached Atlam's eastern shore. These people had sailed from Subumpam, but did not consider themselves Subumpamese, since Subumpam was an alliance of nations of people who had settled there, whereas these sailors had seen Subumpam and passed it by. They believed that the tropical jungle of Atlam would enable them to live a richer life than they could have ever achieved in a temperate climate.

The sailors set up makeshift camps along the immediate coast and began to fish the sea. They wanted to show the natives that they would be self-sufficient, taking most of their food from the sea, and would not threaten the aboriginals' food supplies. The Mumba were surprised to see that the natives of Atlam were so poor despite the hot, wet climate, and that they seemed to want no more. Furthermore, the aboriginals seemed to have no common language, with the inhabitants of each village unable to communicate with those of the next.

The Mumba decided not to attempt to introduce a cash economy to the aboriginal peoples, but retained their monetary system for use amongst themselves, in order to keep their society in order. Even so, some Mumba people fled inland from the coastal settlements, enchanted by the carefree, self-sufficient lifestyle of the aboriginals. By moving away from the Mumba colony, these people were abandoning their Mumba identity, and adopting the identity of the tribe whose territory they moved into. These people rarely ventured more than a few miles inland, however, meaning that the tribes living deeper inland were not aware that Mumba people were moving inland, and many were not aware that the Mumba even existed.

The first generation of Mumba people who had given birth to children in aboriginal settlements raised their children with both Subumpamese and the language of the tribe they were living with; these children thus became interpreters who could communicate with the Mumba people still living along the coast. They learned that, although each tribe had its own language, there was a common language imported from the neighboring Kxesh Empire that some tribesmen had learned and could communicate both with Kxeshians and with people of other tribes who had learned Kxesh. The Mumba people reported back to the coastal colonies to tell them that any attempt to make Subumpamese the universal language of all of Atlam would likely be futile, and that, if they wanted to achieve political power in Atlam, they would need to learn to speak Kxesh instead. However, the Mumba colonists had by this time lost all interest in achieving political power and had resigned themselves to living a life on the sea, as they had been doing since a generation earlier when they had first landed.

Meanwhile, over the years a small number of aboriginal people had come out of the forest and entered the Mumba colonies, curious to understand the Mumba way of life. These people had often lost family members or otherwise had their life in the rainforest interrupted, and hoped that they could start a new life among the Mumba. Those who married Mumba people raised their children with the Mumba language only and adopted the Mumba culture, including their religion. However, some elements of their native religions began to stream into the Sisnasi religion the Mumba people had always followed, and the Mumba people came to diverge both culturally and religiously from their close cousins in Subumpam.

Early contacts with Subumpam

The Fùba people, after a few generations living in Atlam, came to identify with Atlam rather than their ancestral homeland. When more boats of people from Subumpam arrived, the Fùba people were unsure what to do. They realized that successive waves of Subumpamese would likely be more aggressive than the Fùba had been in their attempt to introduce a cash economy and achieve political power, and that the blonde-haired Fùba people could potentially be targeted by aboriginals resisting the Subumpamese intrusion. A team of Fùba diplomats visited Šùppa, the capital of the Kxêsh empire, promising allegiance to Kxêsh and stating that they had chosen to settle Atlam to live in peace, and not to conquer it. They offered to build ships to increase the power of Kxêsh's navy in order to keep further settlers out of both Tōžetana and the tropical south coast of Kxêsh.

Contacts with Paba and Thaoa

After several generations in Atlam, the Fùba people gradually lost their memories of their original homelands. Most had come from Subumpam, but among these were many who had originally lived in the kingdom of Paba, which was to the east of Subumpam but cut off from it by a wedge-shaped area still entirely controlled by aboriginal tribes. Paba had the strongest navy of any temperate-climate nation and had been engaged in trade with various tropical nations since its founding in 633 AD. Thus, Paba was familiar with Atlam, and like the original Fùba settlers, wanted to convert it to a cash economy and put the aboriginal tribes to work producing goods that could turn a profit for Pabap traders and also improve the living standards of the aboriginals.

In the year 1085, the eastern Pabap region of Thaoa seceded from Paba and created a multiparty government, unique in the world at the time, to replace the many appointed princes whose only loyalty was to the distant monarchy of Paba. The main reason for Thaoa's secession was that Paba had recently (c. 1047) written a new constitution for their kingdom which abolished the army and stated that Paba would no longer participate in any wars, and would cede all of its disputed land to its enemies. This treaty actually increased Paba's military footprint in a roundabout way, since the tribes to whom the Pabaps had surrendered were enemies of Paba's rivals, and promised to protect Paba's trading ships wherever they went.

But Pabaps living in the disputed territories that were being handed over to aboriginal tribes had no guarantee that they would be safe, since Paba promised to avoid even retaliation against a unilateral invasion. Although Thaoa was not specifically ceded to any particular tribe by the treaty, the Pabaps living in Thaoa knew that their land had, in the past, been taken from aboriginal tribes whom the Pabaps had driven into hiding in the mountains, and were very poor but heavily armed. Furthermore, the treaty did offer all of the aboriginals the right to settle anywhere in Paba, including Thaoa. Thaoa worried that even a peaceful wave of settlement could soon turn hostile, and chose to secede so that it would retain the right to protect itself.

Paba's universal peace treaty did not abolish the Pabap navy, because naval warfare of the time was such that a non-military ship was of comparable power in a fight to one that had been specifically designed for war, and there was thus no way to abolish the navy without abolishing their fleet of trading ships, which they were unwilling to do. Thus, when Thaoa seceded from Paba, it lost both its navy and its ability to trade with foreign nations, and became impoverished. Thaoa decided that it would survive by becoming a land power instead, and focusing on invasions of the aboriginal territories to the north and east. But some Thaoans remembered Atlam and other tropical nations since they had been among the various peoples who had attempted to colonize the tropics in the past, and some Thaoans wanted to attempt a circumnavigation of the entire Pabap-controlled area of the ocean in order to establish a second Thaoa in the tropics.

Relations with the Gold Empire

In 1989, Nama declared war on the Star Empire, the largest military power in the tropics, and after a war lasting nearly 70 years Nama declared victory and occupied the entire territory of the Star Empire, enslaving the majority of the population. They founded the Gold Empire, which consisted of the defeated Star Empire plus Nama, and was ruled from Nama.

After the final peace treaty had been signed, some Naman warlords rebelled and decided to invade territories that had not even participated in the war. The largest of the territories that suffered invasion were Kxesh and Atlam. By launching yet another invasion, these people were seceding from Nama and declaring themselves stateless. The warlords promised to cooperate with each other, however, and not fight each other for conquered territories.

The Naman warlord alliance promised to enslave any tribes they conquered. They realized that slavery worked better in a desert climate than a tropical rainforest, since in a desert an escaping slave would have difficulty finding food and water, and therefore that their slavery would need to be very mild in order to survive a rebellion.

Political unification and conflict with Kxesh

In the year 2131, the people declared their independence from Kxêsh and renamed their homeland Tūġyaităna.[3] (Tōžetana is a later, Khulls form of the same name.) By seceding from their parent empire, Kxesh, they were exposing themselves to attack, and they immediately formed an alliance with Kxesh's enemy, the rival Gold Empire, based in Lobexon. Lobexon had long considered Atlam to be a part of Lobexon, but had never been able to field an army large enough to occupy it. However, the southwestern edge of Lobexon was separated from the northeastern corner of Atlam by about 400 miles of densely settled tropical coastland belonging to Kxesh and various minor independent powers, and neither Atlam nor Lobexon believed that conquering that coastal strip was feasible. Atlam thus considered itself to be a separate part of the Gold Empire rather than a region of Lobexon.

Kxêsh ruled that Atlam's secession was illegal, and immediately launched an invasion. Kxêsh quickly defeated Atlam and annexed the territory back into Kxêsh, but the rival empire of Lobexon promised Atlam that all was not lost, and that they would be willing to fight a wider war against Kxesh in order to liberate Atlam. The Gold Empire offered asylum to any Atlamians seeking a safer place to live.

Contact with Subumpam

Atlam had early on established cultural links with Subumpam. Atlam and Subumpam were at opposite ends of the enormous Gold Empire, and served as the cultural barriers between the Gold Empire and the rival empires around them. To the southwest was the empire of Kxesh, a large but disorganized association of various aboriginal tribes who had lived in the tropics for tens of thousands of years. To the northeast was Paba, a very large pacifistic empire which had established the world's strongest navy and unified itself under the philosophy of pacifism and ceased participation in all wars, thus stopping the territorial advancements its people had made in their early history.

For more than 2000 years, Atlam maintained itself as a simple but self-reliant tropical nation having little contact with its neighbors. Immigration into Atlam was rare, and the various minorities were gradually absorbed into the wider population, making Atlam a nation with a single unified tribal identity once more.


Around the year 2155, Atlam again seceded from Kxêsh, but this time sought no alliance with the Gold Empire. NOTE: THIS LOOKS WRONG

Wealth gap with the north

Within the tropics, survival had traditionally been easiest near the Equator, where the climate was at its warmest and wettest. Indeed, the southernmost nation on the continent, Atlam, had long had the highest population density. But by the 2160s, living standards in the northern end of Lobexon had improved so much that the highest population density was now at the extreme northern end of Lobexon, nearest Nama, and per capita income declined rapidly moving southward, reaching its lowest point in the nation of Atlam, which still had not adopted a cash economy and consisted almost entirely of hunter-gatherers with no possessions other than the weapons they used to hunt and fish for the food they needed each day.

The people of Atlam began to blame the central government for their problems, even though the capital of their empire was in the nation of Ave (Katō), which was also fairly poor, rather than in the rich north. The leaders of Atlam declared that their people would forever be independent, since they refused to ally with a power such as Katō that left them mired in poverty while the other nations of their empire were acquiring cash-based economies and ever greater personal wealth. Atlam stopped short of declaring war, however, knowing that they were still under the threat of invasion from Kxesh.


  1. Date is approximate, and can only be stated to be "no earlier than 2131". Not 2175 as previously stated; 2175 was the date of a treaty between Atlam and Subumpam.
  2. Although Rilola is a single continent, early inhabitants did not realize this, because the mountains that divide the continent in half also run along the edge of the Gold Sea, and the thin strip of low coastal land in between was not densely inhabited.
  3. Date is approximate, and can only be stated to be "no earlier than 2131". Not 2175 as previously stated; 2175 was the date of a treaty between Atlam and Subumpam.